Serious Post: Nutrition Is Important

Discussion in 'Discussions' started by Essence, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Just in case no one knows, I'm a big dude. 280 lbs. 6'1". My wife, however, dwarfs me. She didn't always -- when we were in high school, she was quite normal. But as she's grown older, unlike most people, she simply never stopped gaining weight. We've done everything to try to figure out why, but no one has had a single idea that has worked with the single exception of getting pregnant. For some reason, during a time when every other woman gains weight, my wife lost it -- 100 lbs in 9 months. Then she started gaining again -- no matter what she eats.

    I share all of this with you because something miraculous happened yesterday and I want you to understand why it's important to me. It's called the Nutrition Science Initiative, and it's the world's only nutrition research group that is independently funded (in other words, they're not beholden to anyone for their results.)

    Co-founded by researcher Gary Taubes, author of one of the most influential books in my life (Good Calories, Bad Calories) and with a board of advisors that includes iconoclast Tim Ferriss, author of two more (The 4-hour Workweek and The 4-hour Body), this group of scientists has many of the foremost nutritional researchers in the world working on it, and their stated goal is to use clean science to test some of the foundational assumptions our society has about what happens when we eat food.

    I've RSS's their Twitter accounts, signed up for their newsletter, Liked them on Facebook, and donated my nominal $5 to their cause. I'd like to encourage anyone interested in clean science, good eating, and long life to do a few of the same.

    The only thing that could make this any better is if they hired A.J. Jacobs to be their professional guinea pig. :)
  2. Movra

    Movra Member

  3. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    As an Insulin Dependant Diabetic, I had to learn quite a bit on this subject. The single most important thing I learned is to ignore calories altogether and focus on what things are made of and how much of them in grams there is.

    A "Calorie" is actually a kilo-calorie. If you look at a nutrition label on something and it says it has 100 calories, that really means it has 100 kilocalories. And each of those is a simple unit of measuring how much raw energy there is in an item after it is burned to cinders. They literally put a candy bar or whatever in a device with a known amount of fuel and burn everything. The fuel burns out and the candy bar is also burned by the excess heat from burning the fuel. The overall amount of heat generated by the fuel is known in advance, so they just see how different it is with the candy bar and that is the number of kilo-calories the candy bar has.

    Why do I mention this? Because your body lacks a furnace. You do not excrete ashes. You excrete feces. Unburned and largely unmetabolized food. This is the reason that calories are a useless figure.

    Every Human and animal has a different metabolic rate, and will metabolize different amounts of different foods. Not even a genius dietitian can tell you without doubt and uncertainty how much of a candy bar will be metabolized. There are many variables to consider. Far more than I could type out in a week.

    The average dietary "expert" would likely give your wife incorrect advise. The easiest way to help her is exactly what you are doing. You are learning how it all works. She will obviously have to decide if item A is a good item, or if it will go straight to her ass, to put it bluntly. :D
  4. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    I knew there was a reason I liked you, DagglePlusPlus.

    Yes, what he said. The human body is a massively complicated chemical machine, and the mere fact that we treat calories as though they have meaning is one of the worst cases of the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy meets the This Is Where the Light Is Fallacy in the history of humankind. For the record, my wife did an experiment about a year ago where she spend a month counting how many bites of everything she ate over the course of a month, and during the next month, she ate half as much.

    She gained 18 pounds.

    So no, the thermodynamic model of the human body is completely and utterly stupid in premises, in theory, in practice, and in experiment. Calories in do not equal calories out. All you have to do to prove this to yourself (if DagglePlusPlus's example above didn't convince you) is look up how much exercise you have to do to burn off the calories from eating a single extra Oreo. Then go read Good Calories, Bad Calories and get your mind blown. :)
  5. Movra

    Movra Member

    OmniaNigrum and Essence like this.
  6. SkyMuffin

    SkyMuffin Member

    I have a chronic illness that forces my body to constantly rebuild itself, so being skinny has always been something that just happens to me. However, this does not mean that I can eat whatever I want and feel fine. The human body digests certain foods more easily than others. Although calorie dense foods may have more theoretical energy, they actually make me very tired. These foods have lots of stuff but they don't actually give my body anything; I feel way better eating fruits and vegetables than I do when I eat hamburgers. Complex carbs are denser, but the body processes them far more efficiently than simple carbs. And so on.

    so yeah, calorie counting is silly and says nothing about your actual quality of life.
    TheJadedMieu, Kazeto and OmniaNigrum like this.
  7. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    That's a great link, Movra. Thank you!
    OmniaNigrum likes this.
  8. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Calorie dense in which way? Overall per portion, or overall per weight? Or something else?

    I think I understand what you are saying either way, but I just want to be clear on this. Foods with too much of anything not easily discarded by the digestive system usually fatigue you since your Liver and other organs have to fight like all hell to get it converted into what they need / want / can better use.

    A perfect example in my own life is that alcohol has to be broken down by the liver, or discarded by a number of organs. No kidding, a dozen separate organs play into this within minutes. Things people think are not even organs too. Like Blood. And your skin literally sweats out the alcohol that it is fed via your blood.

    In short, booze may equal mana in DoD, but it is a royal bitch for your entire body to handle it in real life. :)
    Vitellozzo and Kazeto like this.
  9. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    Composed mostly of carbohydrates and fatty acids, I think. Personally I don't have that problem because of my metabolism, but I heard at least some people feel below the par after they eat this kind of stuff (which is why it's generally recommended to eat sweet/fatty things no less than an hour before you exercise, so that you wouldn't feel more tired than you really are).

    And just to add to the discussion proper, while normally I'm not on any sort of real diet because I'm pretty healthy on my own (the only thing that is worrying is the large number of genetic predispositions to various hereditary bad things, and in the past also my weak heart but I don't think I have to worry about that one any longer) so for as long as I know I'm getting enough stuff I don't really care about my calorie intake (other than the fact that it has to be above a certain threshold or I'll start losing weight on my own, but that's why I have a lot of chocolate and various other things for), but in the past there was a period of time when I really had a set diet and yeah, it's more about the kind of stuff you eat rather than the amount itself, because your body will tell you if you lack energy but it won't tell you if there's a deficit of something important. And diets aren't actually bad if you know how to cook, because it's more along the lines of "you should eat some of this and some of this and not drink that or that" rather than not eating anything; the one bad thing I remember about it when it comes to taste is drinking egg whites, and that is both because it's not your usual choice of a drink and because learning how to prepare them (so that they would be safe, but not cooked) was annoying because it's really hard to get to feel the right time for keeping them in the pot.
    OmniaNigrum likes this.
  10. Kamisma

    Kamisma Member

    @Omni, metaphorically, our organs and muscles are actually furnaces :p
    We consume various stuff and reject carbon (and other gas and trash), so it's very similar to burning them. Although the process is somewhat more complexe that simply dousing carbs with fuel ^_^

    But in essence I agree with you. KCaloiries don't mean shit, you have to balance your carb/protein/fat/fiber intake.

    Calories are just a very broad indicator of what you need for a day. It can gives you a hint if for instance you rake in 3000kC in a day and you are sitting at a desk all day, going to and from the office by car, you'll can guesstimate you'll roughly have 2000kC in excess because you're not doing much to consume that energy (very very broad guesstimates here), and you might consider tuning your diet as a consequence.

    But eventually just looking at the kC don't mean shit. If all your diet is carbs and fat, even if you are at 1500kC you'll be in a pretty bad shape, because you'll lack essential elements of our Omnia Vorum diet

    In average, what anyone need is an healthy supply of fibers, very important so that the rest is processed correctly, then a balanced amount of carbs vs proteins, doing some physical activity to actually use those proteins for something (no need to buy buckets of Whey, just eat enough diggle eggs and fresh steaks), and finally some fats on top, because you need some too (especially special stuff that are contained in some oils, like Omega-3 and 6 etc.)

    Minerals and vitamins are damn important too, that's why bottled source water rather than filtrated tap water and eating fish/squids/urchins is really good for you to get those minerals, and eating fresh fruits to get those vitamins.

    I'm living in china right now, and writing all of this pains me because i don't have it. Everything is over-fatty with lots of bad oil, all the worst meat of an animal (for instance when they serve you beef, most of the time it's some sort of beefy bacon) and when you get vegetables, they are cooked with so much oily you can't use them for their initial purpose : digestion...

    My only salvation are Japanese restaurants or south china cuisine (steamed cuisine rather that stir/deep fried)
    Kazeto and OmniaNigrum like this.
  11. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    On the note of Vitamins and Minerals, there are two conflicting schools of thought. Take them regularly and let your body flush the parts it does not need, as opposed to the other idea, take only what you know you need, and avoid heavy saturations of any one food group in favor of a diversified diet.

    I for one favor the latter idea. I do not use salt at all. I take no multi-vitamins or any of that garbage, and I eat small amounts of every color of most types of foods. (Color is important especially with vegetables and fruits. It tells you much about what it will provide, even if it has to be converted by the liver or another organ to do that.)

    The link Essence put in the OP is great. It tells much about how early diets consisted much of things commonly believed to be bad for you, yet moving away from that diet does not seem to improve the health of the bulk of the people converted to a "Modern" diet.

    Just 50 or so years ago it would be much more common for people to eat less sugary foods and much more meats and fats. Supposedly learned Doctors proclaimed that to be the cause of so much of the bad health of the time. Now that is known to be just as good or better than the diet of the average American. (I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but America eats sugary garbage with little to no nutritional value besides direct carbohydrates in the form of starches and sugars.)

    Most Americans living on a supposedly modern diet lack protein and several types of fats, but have so much sugars that their body is fighting a losing battle over time just to get rid of it all.

    Even if you are overweight, the odds are that fats are not the cause. So do not keep passing by the cheeses that are essential to your body having an efficient metabolism. Do not buy skim milk because some idiot told you that milkfat is bad so his buddies at the Cheese plant have all the skim to sell to you and others again for more of your money.

    Right now in most parts of America, Normal Milk does not exist anymore. It is *ALL* skimmed. Doubt me? Try finding "Whole Milk" at the supermarket. The odds are that 99% of what is sold as such is actually "Vitamin D Milk" that really means they not only skimmed part of the fats out, but they then put other ingredients in to pretend it is the same as the "Whole Milk" that was once the primary option. (In some areas they do not have to disclose what they put in. But it usually is a trace of gelatin to thicken it up, not to mention the Vitamin D crap that you can get for free from exposure to sunlight. Often they add calcium too since it helps cover for the fact that they took the fats out.)
    TheJadedMieu and Kazeto like this.
  12. jadkni

    jadkni Member

    This thread is quite interesting. You don't realize how grossly misinformed the general public is regarding nutrition until you start paying attention to it yourself. I was diagnosed type 1 diabetic three years ago and before that didn't really pay any attention to what I was eating, I'm just a naturally thin guy so I didn't have much reason to. Irony is that part of the reason I was maintaining such a low weight is that I had been suffering DKA for quite a while. After three years of eating much healthier I've actually packed on the pounds, not to the point of obesity but I'm not quite a beanpole these days, and what I hear from my family more than anything else is that I need to watch my weight. :p
    Goes to show you that our metrics of how healthy we are aren't always 100% accurate.
    Kazeto and OmniaNigrum like this.
  13. Kamisma

    Kamisma Member

    It's not that simple. I don't think i'm less exposed to sunlight than most french, but my skin is desperately white and i'm lacking good amounts of vitamin D from my last blood tests, but then i'm not relying on vitamin enriched crap, but actual medicine.

    For the whole milk issue I guess it's the same in china, i can't read chinese yet so can't tell if its whole or not but i guess not (they usually only one sort of milk per brand, and don't sell much milk anyway because it's not considered an adult's food here), and the imported australian milk is mostly same as what you describe (lots of different kind with various enrichment, but i don't recall seeing whole milk).

    Oh and if you wan't a good laugh :

    Don't eat french cheese ! You will die ! Srsly !
    OmniaNigrum likes this.
  14. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    Meh, I've eaten most things on your list and I'm still safe. Of course, it pays that I never buy this kind of stuff from "unknown" source and instead rely on companies that actually sort of care about it. And it pays even more that my immunological system is a fortress so I shrug off most minor things. But yeah...

    And Omni, the one about getting vitamin D from the sunlight isn't a complete lie, it is just that the amount it can give you is pretty low (because the most of it goes to your skin directly, duh) and to get the intake you need you still need to eat properly. But for people who need more vitamin D because of skin problems it is really helpful as a backup source.
    OmniaNigrum likes this.
  15. Movra

    Movra Member

    Didn't know American Milk is that scary. It's even banned in Europe because of Monsanto's bovine growth hormones.

    As for milk itself, studies suggest that it's not as healthy as it's often claimed to be. The calcium in milk, for instance, would actually deplete the calcium from your bones.

    And when you think about it, milk is originally designed for infants. Why would an adult drink milk to begin with? Many people did not even develop the genes to be able to digest milk into their adulthood.

    That said, I occasionally enjoy a bowl of muesli mix served with European whole milk.
    OmniaNigrum, Kazeto and Kamisma like this.
  16. Kamisma

    Kamisma Member

    Oh that would explain why only expats and children are drinking milk here in China.

    It's not "my" list, it's the goddamn FDA's.

    I'm french, and the amount of Raw Camembert i've eaten in my short lifetime would make a FDA agent pass out.
    OmniaNigrum likes this.
  17. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    Well, yeah... Though when I referred to "your" list, I meant "the list that you presented to us", and not "the list that you made".

    The point is, while eating it might be unsafe for people who haven't been drinking raw milk before for whatever reason, people who had (most Europeans do, as far as I'm concerned, which is also the reason for most of us being able to drink milk later in life - our bodies just got over the "dangers" of milk because it was exposed to them early, sort of like what happens with vaccinated people) aren't really endangered unless they hit a really heavy mine (but that is really unlikely in most countries).

    Oh, and the one on FDA's page about drinking pasteurized milk not causing lactose intolerance is actually true, in a round-about way. Because it's not drinking pasteurized milk that causes it, but rather not drinking raw milk early when that does (which is evident with higher percentage of people who are lactose intolerant amongst those who were fed pasteurized milk from the very beginning rather than getting their mothers' milk), and there are some rare people who will never, or always, be lactose intolerant regardless of whether they were drinking pasteurized or raw milk.

    Though I'm not a milk lover myself. I have nothing against it and I do enjoy drinking its by-products (yay for yoghurt). but I'm more of a "hot tea" person when it comes to drinking non-alcoholic stuff.
    OmniaNigrum likes this.
  18. Turbo164

    Turbo164 Member

    I read somewhere that a human can survive for years on nothing but potatoes and milk. It's not a good idea if you want to avoid disease/build muscle/heal injuries/etc, but it's apparently enough for a peasant to push a plow until they die of plague/barbarians/etc.

    As for me, I'm 5'10 and have never weighed more than 120 pounds, no matter how healthy/unhealthy I eat or how much I exercise :/ Makes it rather hard to find pants/survive a flu (I don't have much fat to burn if I go 2 days eating nothing but saltines and jello...)
    OmniaNigrum and Kazeto like this.
  19. Warlock

    Warlock Member

    Funny how people are so scared of raw milk cheese; if you're *that* frightened, just take the rind off. When I visited France on a family vacation, I made it a point to try their artisanal cheeses, and none of them ever did anything to me no matter how much of it I ate. And for some reason I ate a lot of cheese on that trip. Strange.

    Sure there's the small chance of being infected by Listeria spp. from certain of these cheeses but really, you won't run into something of that sort 90% of the time, and only people with piss-poor immune systems have to actually worry about the infection anyway.

    The people who actually get "sick" from something like this are usually unused to the level of natural mold in a cheese/the bacteria which ripened it. Any healthy person should, in theory, be able to consume raw milk/unpasteurized cheese and have no trouble with it. The problem is, people tend to blanket any cheese with obvious mold signs as being unsafe for them to eat. The only time any sort of cheese usually becomes unsafe is after the a point period. This is only because of high concentrations of ammoniacal derivatives and unpleasant mold byproducts such as ornithine and cadaverine. At worst this can give you a case of acute gastric enteritis coupled with some unpleasant hallucinations, unless you're made of glass and have a similar constitution to boot.

    Two cents delivered on the 'safety' and 'lack thereof' concerning cheese for the interested.
    OmniaNigrum and Kazeto like this.
  20. Mr_Strange

    Mr_Strange Member

    95% or more of adults in China are lactose intolerant. In fact, it's something like 80+% of ALL adults in the world are lactose intolerant. Natives of Denmark and Kenya tend to be tolerant as adults, and all humans are tolerant as children.

    The really interesting thing is that the Danish mutation and the Kenyan mutation are totally different.
    OmniaNigrum likes this.